3 Ways to B*tch Slap Fear in the Face and Laugh

slap-fear-in-the-faceI’ll admit it. When I started my online adventures one year ago, I was scared. I had just been laid off from my architecture job, and to top it off I was engaged and getting married a few months later. Just to clarify, I wasn’t scared of getting married, I was scared of not being able to provide for my wife and I after we were married. I feared failing, and letting down not only my family, but myself too.

It’s okay to be scared though. Fear is one of the most primitive human emotions that’s built into us so we can survive. You can’t really get rid of something like that, you can only learn how to deal with it by first understanding why it’s there and then saying to it, “Hey Fear, thanks for the heads up. I know you’re trying to protect me, but I’m all good.”

Of course, there may be situations in your life where you should listen to fear, but when it comes to you wanting to achieve something that you really want, you can’t let fear stand in your way. Here are 3 ways that I’ve learned to overcome fear, which can be applied not only to your online adventures, but life in general too.

1. What’s the Worst That Can Happen, Really?

Fear has a funny way of blurring out reality. One thing that has helped me overcome many fears, from starting my online business to speaking in front of large crowds, was to think to myself, “what’s the worst that can happen, really?” You’ll often find that the worst thing that could happen in reality isn’t that bad at all.

So, you’re thinking about writing an eBook and selling it on your blog, for example. What’s the worst that can happen, really?

Well of course, the worst thing that could happen is that you get sued for copying another book word for word, but of course you’re not going to do that. The worst thing that could happen in reality is that you spend a considerable amount of time on your eBook, sell it, and end up with zero sales. Is life over after that? No way. You take what you’ve learned, and apply it to your next project. Failure is not being unsuccessful. Failure is not learning from your mistakes.

Here’s a personal example:

A while back, I had to give a speech in front of nearly 300 people. I was scared, but then I thought, “What’s the worst that can happen, really?”

Well of course the worst thing that could happen is that as I’m speaking my pants fall down, and then I knock over the mic stand, which triggers a spark that ignites the gas that’s been leaking into the room for the last hour and we all explode and die, but of course that’s not going to happen. The worst thing that could happen in reality is that I stumble with a few words, or maybe even pause at awkward moments. Is life over after that? No way. Oh, and after that particular speech, I was elected the Student Director of the University of California Marching Band.

Don’t let fear change reality.

2. Know What to Expect.

Many of us fear the unfamiliar. This is why we’re afraid of the dark, why we don’t like change, and why we’re scared to do business online. One of the best ways to overcome fear is to familiarize yourself with what you’re unfamiliar with.

You can read as many books as you want to try and familiarize yourself with something, but nothing beats fear to the ground more than talking to someone about it who has been there before.

I’ve never skydived, but I’ve definitely thought about it. If I ever seriously consider doing it, you can be sure I’ll be asking all of my friends who have done it before what it was like and what to expect.

When you’re starting out online, know that it’s okay to ask for help, especially from those who you admire and want to emulate. Many of those people will be more than happy to share their experiences and help you know what to expect. That is partly the reason why I created this blog.

Here’s another personal example:

I’m having a baby boy soon. He’s due on January 22nd, 2010. I’ve NEVER held a baby before in my entire life. To familiarize myself with this whole experience, I’m taking a Basic Training for New Dads class here in San Diego before our son is born. It’s held by experienced dads, and there will actually be real babies there to practice holding and changing diapers with. This way, when little Keoni is born, I’ll know exactly what to expect.

Counter fear with knowledge.

3. Just freakin’ do it!

I’m sure you know this already, but the best way to overcome fear is just to do whatever it is you’re scared of. Of course, that’s easier said than done – but it’s true.

You should always take time to do the proper research before you get into any kind of business, but there comes a point where you should just do it and stop wasting time trying to figure everything out. Here’s a quote that I love from Jason Van Orden, co-host of the Internet Business Mastery Podcast and someone who I really admire:

Breaking through to the next level always takes a leap of faith. You calculate ROI as best as you can, then make the jump.

In addition to that, you have to think about the possibilities you’re opening up for yourself by breaking through. Although I was scared, I now have a 6-figure income from my online business and can spend time at home with my family whenever I want. If I was too scared and didn’t make the decision to do business online, I don’t know where I’d be today.

Up next

In an earlier post, I mentioned how I was sort of spreading myself thin with the multitude of projects I have going on at the same time. I’m now focusing my energy on something much bigger while putting aside some of the other things I’ve been working on. I’d like to share with you in my next post exactly what I’m up to. It’s going to be a fun ride.

  • http://www.thegreenninja.org jen

    What a great post! I can’t wait to hear what you’re working on.

    • Pat

      Thanks Jen, it’s good to hear from you. It’s been a while – hope all is well!

  • http://makeonlineincomemoney.blogspot.com/ Niche Momma

    Congrats on the new baby– you will have so much fun and sleep so little. 😉

    I have some posts you and your wife may like to peruse on my personal blog:

    Everything I know about newborns: http://motherhoodfortheweak.blogspot.com/2008/12/everything-i-think-i-know-about.html

    Toys for the first year:

    Toys &Games for the 12 month old:http://motherhoodfortheweak.blogspot.com/2009/01/interperative-dance-for-moms-or-games.htmlTo

    • Pat

      Thanks for the tips Niche Momma!

      • http://makeonlineincomemoney.blogspot.com/ Niche Momma

        I hope you find them helpful! I know I would have found this info useful before my daughter came along.

        Happy baby waiting!


  • http://www.EngagedMarriage.com Dustin | Engaged Marriage

    I am totally with you on this one, especially #2. I find that the best way to calm my own fears is almost always to learn more information. When a sickness comes up in the family, I Google the disease to learn more about it. When a tough project comes up at work, I spend the time necessary to master the issues so I will feel confident when it comes time to present results at a public hearing. Information reduces fear.

    As a Dad of two little ones, nothing can prepare you for the time you bring your first baby home. I guarantee you’ll get home, put the car seat down and realize that you are really responsible for taking care of this baby…all the time. Don’t worry, though, it gets more awesome every day!

    • Pat

      Thanks for your comment Dustin. I’ve talked to a lot of people about that feeling, but I’m sure I won’t know exactly how it feels until it actually happens. Everyone says it gets better too, so I’m excited for that as well.

      How old are your kids Dustin? Were your experiences and feelings the same the second time around?

      • http://www.EngagedMarriage.com Dustin | Engaged Marriage

        Pat, I still get some butterflies when I think back to the day we brought our son home. It’s such a cool thing to be a Daddy, and at the same time it’s such a great responsibility.

        Our kids are a 4 year old boy and a 2 year old girl. Aside from my great wife, they are my world. We would like to add another one to our family, God willing.

        Honestly, the addition of our girl was not a real earth shaker as far as lifestyle goes. While she has certainly left an indelible mark in our lives, I don’t recall having any major fears or overwhelming feelings when she came home. Our son had already broken us in!

  • http://www.realestateguide2success.com Vance

    The options that you outlined in the post really do work. I use option #1 ALL the time. I need that reality check to keep me focused and pushing towards my goals. In fact, I read something that said 80-90% of the things people worry about never end up happening! That’s a whole lot of worrying for nothing. The other thought I keep in mind is that failures or mistakes just get me one step closer to doing the right things and succeeding.

  • Howie

    Have you ever considered writing a book, Pat? (If you have already…is it on Amazon/Overstock?)

    • Pat

      Howie, I have. It’s been one of my life long goals. Although I’ve authored some study guides, I want to author something where I can use examples from my own life experiences – not just some test. That would be awesome.

      You can be sure that when this happens, I’ll let everyone know.

  • http://www.theathomecouple.com Elijah

    Man… Though my writing style is a little different, I have a draft post written up that covers the exact same 3 points – and I couldn’t have laid it out any better.

    I find that visualizing the absolute worst scenario is amazing. Knowing what to do (if there’s an option) if that worse scenario happens is even more amazing. Not giving a sh** about what happens or doesn’t happen can be both good and bad.

    My biggest challenge in life and business is that I often don’t care enough. There are very few things I allow myself to fear, often causing me to do stupid things on a regular basis. But those stupid things usually turn into learning lessons, so I guess it always balances itself out.

    When I quit my job a year ago to work from home the only thing that scared me was the fact that I wasn’t scared. 😉

    • Pat

      I promise I didn’t sneak a peek into your WordPress drafts! Hehe. Don’t let me stop you from posting it though – it’s always great to see the same things from different people – it just reinforces what’s being said.

      Love your last sentence in your comment – that’s awesome. Cheers!

  • http://deneilmerritt.com Deneil Merritt

    lol, I tried selling an ebook and the worst happen. No sales. I learn a lot from it though and now going towards a different business model. Same niche though. The end result should be a lot better than selling the ebook.

  • http://www.lifeturnaroundnow.com Matt Belcher


    Man you just get these great posts out!

    Excellent post from someone who obviously is speaking from experience.

    When I am training sales teams or talking to people one of the biggest things they mention is fear. Fear of what? Anything!

    I can honestly say that in my experience the best way to combat fear is ACTION.
    Just go for it.

    Sure, you have to think about it first but don’t think too much!

    When I used to play Rugby I used this Action technique all the time (I didn’t know I was but i was!).

    Sometimes we would come up against a great team who had players much bigger than my team and me. It’s pretty intimidating seeing them get ready to run over you!

    But the more you just went in for the tackle expecting to dump them back the more it happened! And by the end of the game they didn’t seem that big anymore.

    I know that’s a slightly off example but it is true. Same in business and life. If I had let fear control my actions then I would never have started the businesses while I was broke.

    if I haven’t have started them then I would still be in the same position.

    Thanks for good content again.


  • http://findanotebookcomputer.com/ shelly

    yes,theres some nice ideas here!

  • Eddy

    Wow, it’s almost as though this post was written for me. Thanks for the advice especially the ‘just do it’. I often just spend too much time researching and learning that it becomes even harder to start. I know that sounds odd, but there is so much stuff out there about any subject, that it’s almost like a comfort thing i.e. I can’t start yet – I haven’t read all there is to read and so you carry on researching and putting off the start date!
    I have 4 kids and with the first one I read every parenting manual I could find online & offline, in the end it was the actual doing the parenting that has given me the confidence to look after my second, third and fourth.
    Good luck,

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  • http://www.rugbyworldusa.com Maria Hrafn

    Solid blog. I got a lot of great info. I’ve been following this technology for awhile. It’s fascinating how it keeps changing, yet some of the core elements remain the same. Have you seen much change since Google made their most recent acquisition in the field?

  • Rebecca

    Hi Pat,

    first of all, I would like to say that your info and advice has been comforting, and I have added a lot of your tips onto my brainstorming software (sorry, thought-shower!-new politically correct term for brainstorming apparently…). I will use your wisdom when moving forward with my blog (I have not yet gone live).

    This leads me to my second point…I have been feeling tired and afraid. And just as I was about to leave your site (with intentions to return), I came across your article on bitch slappin fear in the face! I want to share with you how thankful I am for your friendly and informative posts.

    All the best,


    • Pat

      Hey Rebecca! I’m glad you found this post on your way out! Thanks for the kind words about my site, and I hope to hear from you again soon!